Music has long played an important part in Indonesian culture. The Indonesian jofa is one of the most common traditional instruments and it is used in every occasion or celebration.
In Watuliney, a small village in southeast Minahasa, Indonesia, most of the people love music. Those who are able to play the jofa also like to teach it to their children to perpetuate the musical tradition, but that opportunity does not come to all children. Most schools don’t provide a program for music. The parents who work as farmers can’t afford to buy the instruments for their children or to pay for the music course.
Because of his passion to preserve traditional culture, Adri, the coordinator of Silo Student Center, proposed to provide the jofa for children at the center. He believed that the children in his center had the talent and willingness to learn music.
After receiving a positive response from the church, Adri immediately checked the price of a jofa and ordered some made from a substitute material.
“We changed the material to plastic pipe. We call it jofa. Jofa is the basic instrument that has same tone as the original clarinet.”
Adri then announced the dream to the children in the center. He asked if anyone wanted to join the jofa group. The children were very enthusiastic about the invitation to join, and Adri recruited 30 children from 6 to 12 years old who were eager to participate.
Adri also recruited two experienced local musicians who were willing to teach the children, and the new activity began several months later.
Initially, the children struggled to become familiar with the instrument’s tones.
“They were easily tired, but I kept giving them encouragement. It is a great challenge for us to teach the children because they come from something that they don’t know to something that they have to master,” their music tutor Ofri says.
Within two weeks, the children were able to play three songs with the instrument. The new activity has not just given new knowledge and built the children’s talent in music, it also has built new confidence within the children.
Compassion-assisted child Faldi says that he has really enjoyed taking part in the music group. Given the role of music conductor, Faldi learned how to conduct his friends from his grandfather, who has played the clarinet since he was young.
“I am really proud of my son. He always practices everyday by himself in his room. Sometimes he also asked us to see his performance as he practiced conducting his friends,” says Faldi’s mother.
During the children’s first performance in the church, they amazed the congregation who came to the Sunday service. Most of the people in Watuliney had never heard children play any kind of instrument before.
After several performances, the children then gave their next performance at the monthly meeting for the parents. They also performed in the Christmas celebration held by the cluster for children from other development centers.
The music group has now mastered seven songs.
“The harmony that is now heard from the little ones has brought new hope for this village. I believe the children still have thousands of talents that they could develop for their future.” – Adri